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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Victor A. Menaldo
POL S 584
Seattle Campus

Comparative Political Economy

Overview of current developments in comparative political economy. Topics may include globalization, the welfare state, partisan models of economic policymaking, economic development, and trade.

Class description

Why are some countries wealthy while others are poor? Why are some countries more unequal than others? What explains the strong cross-country correlation between state capacity, the rule of law, and economic development? In order to answer these questions, this class explores the political determinants of economic development—the reasons why some countries consistently accumulate wealth and experience productivity gains while others don't. Particular emphasis will be placed on 1) the role of the state in stimulating the development of financial and capital markets 2) how the resources that are ultimately produced through this politicized process are distributed 3) the willingness and ability of governments to tax income, wealth, investments, and consumption, and 4) how governments decide to use these revenues: whether to provide public goods, redistribute them, or simply to steal them. A general focus on self-enforcing institutions, and a particular focus on why suboptimal policies are often such a resilient equilibrium, will shed considerable light on these puzzles.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Response papers; research proposal


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Victor A. Menaldo
Date: 08/15/2010